What is an alveoplasty?

A lot of big and confusing words are thrown about in the dentistry industry. It’s a common need in the modern day and age, and yet, we often are not aware of the things our mouths go through on a day to day basis. If you’ve recently attended your dental checkup and been made aware of a few cavities, or a potential infection, you may have heard the term ‘alveoloplasty’ whilst you were laying in the chair. 

If you’re currently curious about what an alveoloplasty is, it may be because you’ve recently undergone a procedure on your teeth, and you’re wondering what was involved. Or maybe you’re worried about an upcoming procedure where a tooth will need to be extracted, and you want to be kept aware of what your mouth will go through. 

Either way, we’ve answered your questions below, so be sure to read through them if you’re in need of a little more information on the potential procedure in your future. 

What Is An Alveoloplasty?

So, the big question is ‘what is an alveoloplasty?’ Well, this term denotes a surgical procedure that smooths out, and potentially reshapes, a patient’s jaw bone after losing teeth, either naturally or via an extraction. It’s most often required to be done when toothlessness happens early on in life, or if dentures need to be fitted to a person’s mouth. 

An alveoloplasty is a good way to ensure that any tooth replacements that are used to restore a person’s mouth to working order, or to improve their smile, will be kept simple and without unnecessary complications. It really is as simple as that! 

Why Would An Alveoloplasty Be Needed?

Of course, another big question is about why an alveoloplasty would be needed in the first place. There could be many reasons for this, but one of the main ones comes after a tooth is pulled out by a dentist themselves. This is known as an ‘extraction’. 

Having a tooth extracted leaves a little gap in your gum, otherwise known as a ‘socket’. Of course, an alveoloplasty is not always needed, as some people will already have the right shapes and depths in their jaw bones for a fake tooth to be fitted.

If not, however, once you’ve had the time to heal from this initial procedure, there is a chance this socket will not be ready or shaped well enough for a denture or a fake tooth like an implant to be put in its place. 

You’ll be left with an ‘edentulous ridge’, which simply means you’ll have a raised or bumpy part of your gum that’s just not possible for a new tooth to be fitted into. Thankfully, your dentist can solve this issue and the toothlessness you’re currently dealing with by smoothing out your jaw bone and allowing an implant to be fitted into your gum, or for a denture to be securely placed on top. 

alveoloplasty needed for dentures

What Does An Alveoloplasty Involve, Exactly?

First of all, the dentist will have to make an incision via the gum line in a patient’s mouth, to ensure they have direct access to the jaw bone underneath for the procedure. Using a specialized dentistry drill, the dentist will then be able to drill away parts of the jaw bone, to ensure a smooth, comfortable, and necessary shape is left. Once this is done, stitches will be used to close the gum line back up, and the procedure will be over. 

An alveoloplasty has a few steps to go through, but these can be done in a matter of an hour or two. Throughout the duration of it, the patient in question will be under a local anesthesia, so will not be able to feel any pain or discomfort as a result. In reality, the procedure is certainly not as scary as some people find it sounds. 

How Long Will It Take To Heal After An Alveoloplasty?

Depending on the patient in question, this can vary. However, it will take several weeks in all cases, sometimes between 12 and 24. Some people will be able to heal in a couple of months, and some may take a bit longer, even experiencing a sense of permanent numbness when everything is healed and the tooth implants or dentures are firmly in place. 

In most cases, it’ll take less than a month for an alveoloplasty to heal enough for a fake tooth or set of teeth to be fitted into place. Once that is done, it can take up to two or three months more for you mouth to heal back to a healthy state. Make sure you know what levels of pain or discomfort are normal for a period like this, and always go back to your dentist if you’re experiencing levels that you are struggling to cope with.

Indeed, your recovery period will be dictated by your dentist to suit your needs specifically, but a patient will often be placed on a diet of soft foods, to ensure no pain or discomfort, and no dislodging of the fake teeth can occur. 

What Is The Cost Of An Alveoloplasty?

The average cost of an alveoloplasty is $400 per quadrant. Since there are four quadrants in the mouth, if a full mouth alveoloplasty is needed it would cost $1,600.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Alveoloplasty Procedures?

Most dental insurance will help cover a portion of the costs of alveoloplasty surgeries. Each plan is different, but rest assured our insurance specialist will find out exactly how much is covered during your consultation appointment.

When Should You Talk To Your Dentist?

Always talk to you dentist before a procedure such as an alveoloplasty. A tooth extraction can be a fairly straightforward and easy procedure to go through, but an alveoloplasty afterwards may complicate matters a little. A expert surgery team may be needed to complete your alveoloplasty treatment. You may not know you need to undergo it, and you may struggle with keeping up with your recovery plan and needs. 

Make sure your trusted medical professional can put your mind at rest if you have any further questions, and always get their opinion on how the procedure will go and what you will experience during it. 

In truth, an alveoloplasty is a common enough procedure on its own, but it can seem fairly daunting and intimidating as a concept before hand. Be sure to keep in touch with your dentist to ensure you’re kept informed of your progress, and always have a medical professional on side as and when you need them. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Does an alveoloplasty hurt?

Similar to a dental extraction, an alveoloplasty beings with the use of a numbing agent (local anesthetic) to numb the area where the excess bone tissue will be removed. After the area is properly anesthetized, there will be no pain during the procedure. All you should feel is the drill the dentist will use along with any pressure if he or she decides to use hand instruments.

How long does it take to heal from an alveoloplasty?

On average, it takes around 6-8 weeks to completely heal from an alveoloplasty procedure. The majority of the healing will take place in the first three weeks, but complete reshaping of the gums normally takes a few months to complete.

Are there steps to take to heal faster after my alveoloplasty procedure?

The best course of action to take to heal faster is to make sure you finish the medications your doctor prescribes you after the treatment, and to rinse with warm salt water twice a day for a period of two weeks. The rest of the healing will depend on how quickly your body can recover from the procedure.

Is an alveoloplasty procedure covered by Medicare?

Medicare normally does not cover an alveoloplasty procedure. Make sure you check with your plan’s carrier prior to making your alveoloplasty appointment with your clinician.

Is an alveoloplasty necessary for dentures?

If your teeth are removed, it is usually prudent that your dentist smooth our and remove any remnants of bone that could cause irritation after the procedure. If extra bone forms in various areas after your teeth are removed, then an alveoloplasty will be needed prior to your denture insertion because your newly fabricated dentures will impinge on those areas causing pain and irritation.